Friday, 29 June 2012

DIY - Kiki´s Hammock

Dear readers, 

yesterday I have promised you a little tutorial on Kiki´s hammock.

You can adjust the size easily - I am sure not only Kiki but any doll would enjoy 
spending a lazy sunny afternoon in a hammock under the pear tree. 
You will need:

two pieces of fabric, 45cm x 22cm each
(I used a sturdy cotton fabric - awning cloth, linen or canvas works fine)
two wooden sticks, each 20cm long
(I used an old bamboo stick that I usually use for plants in the garden, 
chopsticks or old wooden knitting needles work perfectly well)
two ribbons, each 110cm long
optional: two wooden beads

(this pattern includes 1cm seam allowance)
 Step 1 
pin both pieces of fabric with the right sides together
sew seams along the edge (straight stitch) 
leave a 5cm opening on one of the long sides

Step 2
cut corners close to the seam
Step 3
turn to the right and iron flat
close opening with a few stitches
sew along the long sides of the piece as shown

Step 4
sew the ribbon 2cm from the edge on each of the short sides of the piece
 Step 5
pin and sew the short sides of the piece as shown
(make sure the opening is large enough if you use a thicker wooden stick 
and adjust the size of the loop, if necessary)

Step 6
with the wooden stick inside the loop,
close opening with a few stitches
Step 7
Make a knot (check length of both ends of the ribbon so that the knot is centred)

Step 8
addional: pull both ends of the ribbon through a wooden bead

Find a sunny spot for Kiki´s hammock, some (fabric) strawberries,  a tiny newspaper and a soft little cushion. I was lucky to find the tiny serving plate at the thrift store the other day - keep your eyes open for such treasures the next time you are visiting a flea market!
DIY quick fix (if you or your child can´t sew)
You will need only one rectangle instead of two. Use a piece of oil cloth or another sturdy non-fraying fabric or cut the edges of the fabric with pinking scissors. Skip steps 1-4 and continue with step 5. Use staples instead of sewing the loop. Slide through both wooden stick and ribbon. Skip step 6 and continue with step 7-8. Done!

© Copyright by Fröken Skicklig, all rights reserved.  All texts and images are the sole property of Fröken Skicklig. This tutorial is for personal use only, any reproduction for the sole intent of sale and distribution is strictly prohibited. Thank you.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

There is nothing like a hammock!

There is nothing like a hammock,
Kiki says while swinging back and forth
In the afternoon sun under the pear tree

Lucky you, I reply. 
I have been spending all day at school
While you did nothing at all
Pish-posh, says Kiki.
Or would you say that 
Counting strawberries is no maths?

And would you say that
Watching cloud pictures
Is no art lesson?
I want to reply something smart
But Kiki wiggles her ears
And eats another strawberry

Did you know, she then says,
That a bee needs to visit four million flowers
to fill three jars with honey?
Pish-posh, I say.

And then we listen to the flip-flip-flip of butterfly wings.
To the grasses. 
To the summery breeze.
To the bees. 

There is nothing like a hammock, I say.

Would you like to make your own hammock for your Kiki in the Meadow doll? 
Tomorrow I´ll share a little tutorial with you, so stay tuned...

Until then, enjoy summer!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Strawberries! Strawberries! (results from the doll making class in Berlin)

Dear readers,

of course you were right (when being asked yesterday to guess what our class theme was). 
Strawberries! Lots of strawberries!

We had a fantastic doll making weekend in Berlin, my students and I. 
All of us were tired but oh so happy with the result! 
Everyone was hard working, no broken needles, flowers on the table, delicious lunch and yummy cakes, the evening sun was shining when we took the last photos outside - and none of us was allergic to strawberries. In fine - a perfect weekend! 

Each of my students made a 45cm/ 18 inches cloth doll in a two days class. Before we met, I let them know the class theme so they could prepare for a strawberry weekend.
Enjoy the photos...
Maja: "I love to pick strawberries from the cake"
[Laura´s doll]

Gerda: "I love to eat strawberries with milk"
[Ute´s doll]

Tinka: "Mommy, would you please sew me a tipi, made of this strawberry fabric?"
[Maria´s doll]

Solveigh: Do you want to know a secret? I have seen the Strawberry Fairy.
[Maren´s doll]

Lelli: If I was a pirate, I would sail the Sea of Strawberries!
[Kathrin´s doll]

Thank you so much, Kathrin, Laura, Maren, Maria and Ute for a wonderful weekend! 
(they had never idle hands and were feverishly finishing mohair wigs and even managed to attache ears in that short amount of time at the end of the class ;-)

If you too would like to join us and make your own doll, have a look at the calendar to the right.
 Next dollmaking class for classic cloth dolls will be in Ulm/ Germany (Kurs in deutscher Sprache), 14/ 15 of July. If you are interested, send an email to - w have still a few spots available, more info can be found here.



Saturday, 16 June 2012

Sneak a Peek - Doll Making in Berlin

We have lots of fun, my students and I.
Spending a whole weekend together, 
Sewing, crocheting, eating strawberries, 
Chatting, measuring, stuffing, basting
Drinking tea, laughing, sewing again

Making dolls at our weekend course in Berlin
 As usual I didn´t have enough time to take lots of photos while I was busy explaining new techniques and old little tricks. But tomorrow is another day ;-)

Looking so much forward to sharing photos with you of all the finished dolls!



P.S. Can you guess our class´ photo theme for tomorrow? 
(a little hint: it will be something very red)

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Keeping an Eye on Kiki´s Kettle...

Today I woke up
Quite early in the morning
By the pheasant´s 
Time to get up! Rrrack-rrrack!
And when I looked out the window
I could see that Kiki in the Meadow
Was awake already
First she wiggled with her toes
And I could see how she
Put on her soft blowball scarf
(It can be quite chilly that early in the meadow)
She went over to the wood pile to put on
The shiny copper kettle
I could hear her say
Time for a catlick!
She thoroughly scrubbed her face
Until her cheeks
Were as read as the morning sun
(Of course she did not forget to scrub her feet as well)
Right after that Kiki took
A stroll through the meadow
Behind grandfather´s house
Through high grass and goatweed and thyme
She picked fresh menthe 
And filled her little basket
(while the copper kettle
kept the water warm)
Before I went off for school
I saw Kiki happily sitting
With her cup of morning tea
In the meadow

I was a little late at school today and told Mrs Teacher that I had to watch Kiki´s copper kettle but she did not believe me. But guess what could have happened if no one would have kept an eye on it!


Kiki in the Meadow is a cloth doll I designed especially for a doll making tutorial series in Handmade Living last year. An e-book with all instructions and patterns is coming soon, stay tuned...


Saturday, 9 June 2012

The Peony Girl

As soon as the first shafts of sunlight
Tickle her nose 
In the morning
She casts up her eyes
Through the canopy of leaves
The morning light dances 
And so does the wind
While the blackbird sings
The Peony Girl
Sips a little bit 
Of lilac tea
Then she puts on her dress
A dress made from
Summery pink and green
Woven air and embroidered 
With the blackbird´s song
A perfect dress 
To play hide and seek
In the high grass
Under the apple tree
To pick summery scents
In a little bouquet
To get mosquito bites
And a freckled nose
The perfect dress
To play with glittery marbles
Like thousands little diamonds
On Alchemilla leaves
The perfect dress
To say hello
To Mister Bug who lives
Under the rhubarb leaf
The perfect dress 
To take a stroll 
Along columbine 
And lavender and thyme
The perfect dress 
To whistle a song
While counting the snails
Under the elder bush
The perfect dress
To sit high up
In the apple tree
Squinting into the afternoon sun
No wonder that little Peony Girls
When they put off their day dress
And slipped into their nightgowns
Bedded on goutweed and dandelion

Fall asleep in two ticks
All the running and singing
All the climbing and playing
Makes them really tired

The Peony Girl is a 18"/46cm cloth doll, a special custom order for Marie as a gift for her Holy Communion.

Marie´s Peony Girl is wearing a sleeve-less dress with belt, made from beautiful silk that I have been keeping for many years (originally it was left-over from costumes I made for a "The Master and Margarita" theatre play, I love if fabrics have such a story). Under the dress the doll is wearing a t-shirt, together with a collar which matches the dress´ lining. 

The Peony Girl travelled to Bavaria with an additional soft jersey dress, leggings, undies and shoes. Marie loves everything pink and purple, but I wanted to get away from something too glittery and girly. I combined magenta and dusky pink together with a rather yellowish green which made a wonderful (and peony-like) combination. For the hair I used DollyMo yarn light brown.
 Marie´s family didn´t get to see any photos before I sent their custom doll, it was a surprise. 
When the little girl arrived, they decided to go for a peony theme to decorate for Marie´s Holy Communion (and I am pretty sure that the Peony Girl felt that she was very welcome in her new family).

Have a sunny day!


Thursday, 7 June 2012

Thrifty Thursday - Collars and Doilies

In Sweden, one of the most popular pastimes during summer
is to go on a loppisrunda (flea market tour). 

Country air, sharp ellbows,
wellies, hot dogs, vintage finds, cinnamon buns,
filter coffee and raincoats
- the sum of all that is a Swedish mass sport

(Swedes would win gold medals in any international flea market competition, believe me.)

This time I came home with lots of small vintage collars and doilies.
The former will be turned into pretty doll clothes details.
The latter will be used for a Kiki in the Meadow craft project. 

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Doll Making in Amsterdam - Weekend Class Results

End of April I taught a doll making class in Amsterdam together with nine students from Belgium, the Netherlands and Serbia.

It was a wonderful weekend, inspiring and joyful, crafty and chatty, with cupcakes and dots, one broken needle and a lot of fun. We stayed at my friend´s place, sweet Ineke (who is not only a doll maker herself but a fantastic host, we all enjoyed it so much to work in her cozy studio)

Finally I managed to edit some photos that I would like to share with you..
Britta´s little girl, dressed for the way home to Belgium
Jet´s doll, dressed in a sweet jurkje.
Mirjam´s boy. 
(He is not so fond of cupcakes but loves his rocking horse)
Anjo´s girl, in aqua and red (my favourite colours)
Anita´s little new friend, eagerly awaited by her sister (made at one of my classes two years ago)
Graciela´s doll (with chocolate eyes)
Tanja´s little girl (with the cutest strawberry shoes)
Biljana´s girl, with warm woolen socks (she had to travel quite far, no risk for cold feet)
Ingrid´s little friend, with raspberry red cheeks

People often wonder why sometimes the dolls travel home in headscarves or with a cap after the class instead of braided hair or pigtails. To make such a 45cm cloth doll, my students spend about 22 working hours on neat seams, the right position of facial features and firmly stuffed limbs. The wig takes another 5-8 hours. Unless someone spends a whole night on the doll´s hair and joins us the second day of the class with very bleary eyes, most students only manage to crochet a few rows and finish the wig at home, with my advice and assistance (a detailed film tutorial). Because no doll wants to get photographed bald-headed, we prefer colourful headscarves ;-)

Thank you for a great weekend in Amsterdam, Anita and Anjo, Biljana and Britta, Graciela, Ingrid and Jet,  Mirjam and Tanja! You were a fantastic group, I so much enjoyed our doll making time!

The next class will be held in Berlin, 16th and 17th of June. If you too are interested in one of my doll making classes, have a look at the class dates in the sidebar of this blog or sign up for the newsletter to be kept updated.

Lieve groetjes,


Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Recipe Tuesday - Lemon Curd

Lots of summery picnics waiting to be arranged
Tartelettes to be filled with the first strawberries of the season
Several birthday parties coming up

3 fresh organic eggs
juice of 3 organic lemons 
grated zest of 1 lemon
100gr butter, cut into slices
200gr sugar

Whisk the eggs until they are creamy
Add the sugar little by little
Add lemon zest and juice and butter

Heat the whole mix in a double boiler/ bain-marie for about 20 minutes 
Let gently simmer (not boil) and stir from time to time
When the mixtures thickens, fill the lemon curd in clean jars

Pretty up the jars with a nice little paper tag, some fabric, a ribbon and washi tape

(or enjoy it as a topping for tartelettes together with fresh berries)